Amendment to the SC/ST Atrocities Act: Supreme Court serves notice to the Central Government
New Delhi: The Supreme Court of India today (7 September 2018) admitted petitions alleging that both Houses of Parliament “arbitrarily” decided to amend the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act and issued notice to the Centre seeking a reply within 6 weeks.
The Parliament had unanimously passed the Bill to amend the Atrocities Act in August. On Thursday (6 September), people voluntarily came forward and extended their support to the call given by several organisations for a Bharat Bandh (Nation-wide strike) against the Atrocities Act. In Madhya Pradesh, the Bandh was total due to the public awareness built, especially by two organisations SAPAKS and SAPAKS Samaj.
SAPAKS, a registered body, has been formed by government officers and employees belonging to the general, backward and minority communities, who are fighting a legal battle against the MP provision for Reservation in Promotion. SAPAKS Samaj is also a registered society. Just like SAPAKS, it is also crusading for the rationalisation of the quota system, abolition of reservation in promotion and the atrocities Act.
The Supreme Court had taken into cognizance the fact that the Act was being misused and false complaints were being lodged against Government servants. Taking this into account, the Supreme Court had passed an order making it mandatory to conduct a preliminary inquiry before registering an FIR and making an arrest under this law.
The Bill to amend the Atrocities Act, passed by both Houses of Parliament, provides that an FIR can be registered without a preliminary inquiry and even approval from an appropriate police authority is not required for arresting a person under this Act.
The petititoners have approached the apex court and urged that the Atrocities Act be declared as ultra vires since it denies the innocent citizens the right to seek anticipatory bail.
The petitions came up before a two Judge Bench of the Supreme Court comprising of Justice AK Sikri and Ashok Bhushan.